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10 Ways to Get a Minimalist Kitchen

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This post has been updated as of 2/03/2024

After a kitchen remodel, I lost about one-half of my storage space. I have since moved and got more kitchen space, but my cabinet space remains limited! I spent so much time and effort meticulously designing my old kitchen only to end up moving! C’est la vie. This post is still one of my favorites!

The biggest storage loss was the kitchen pantry and peninsula cabinets. A kitchen planner recommended that I remove the pantry to make space for the refrigerator. She also suggested the removal of the peninsula to open up the floorplan.

Our house was built in the 1970s so the people who designed homes back then valued different things. In the early 70s, they liked intimate rooms with doors EVERYWHERE. They didn’t seem to care much about closets, bathrooms, laundry rooms, or kitchens surprisingly. Those were spaces you entered and immediately exited upon doing your business.

The kitchen planner made some great suggestions that maintained the kitchen’s functionality but greatly limited the storage. I’m convinced the kitchen remodel turned me into a minimalist OUT OF NECESSITY. Here are the tips, tricks, and hacks I followed to declutter and create a minimalist kitchen.

minimalist kitchen hacks tips

10 Ways to Get a Minimalist Kitchen

1. Be Brutal When Decluttering Your Kitchen

Prior to the kitchen remodel I put all of the kitchen accessories and dishes in clear plastic bins and shoved them into various rooms. There was no method to the madness. I didn’t have the time to organize the kitchen items with NO kitchen. After the dust settled I started slowly decluttering to create a minimalist kitchen.

It was tough. I’m not a minimalist by nature. I like collections and options, but I had to be brutal when decluttering the kitchen because I DIDN’T HAVE THE SPACE. The kitchen could not accommodate all of my stuff, which forced me to get rid of about half of my kitchen accessories and dishes.

There was a lot I got rid of that I “thought I needed.” Some kitchen accessories I really liked, but I didn’t use them. So if I didn’t use them, why should I keep them? Marie Kondo’s book ‘Tidying Up,’ helped me understand I was keeping these kitchen accessories from someone who could actually use them. I had to be honest with myself about the lifestyle I had, not the one I imagined. If I hadn’t used a kitchen item in 6 months (excluding seasonal items) why was I keeping it? 

I have since discarded most of my plastic bins and replaced them with glass. One of my favorite glass food containers are from Ello Duraglass.

Scroll to the end of the post to see everything I got rid of thus far.

organize tupperware container lids

2. Use the One Item Per Day Decluttering Method

If you’re like me, a cluttered kitchen is overwhelming. I honestly didn’t know where to start. If you’re a busy working person, you may not have time to organize an entire room in one day, so try the One Item Per Day Organizational Method.

RELATED CONTENT: Organize Your House by Removing One Item Per Day.

The “One Item a Day” Organizational Method is basically incrementalism. Remove one item from the space per day. Once I selected an item, I made arrangements to dispose of it, sell it, or donate it. This meant, putting an ad on Craigslist (that day), putting it in my donate box (that day), or putting it in the trash (that day). The “one item per day” method forced me to make a decision every day, which enabled me to make more decisions.

If you do have time to dedicate to the decluttering process, here is a post about Decluttering a Room Super Fast!

3. Downsize Your Dishes, Glasses, and Cups

Another tough one. When I first moved into my house, the previous owner left A LOT of wine glasses, along with a hanging wine rack. We loved the wine rack and we love wine. So win-win! After the kitchen remodel, the wine rack was gone, so were the peninsula cabinets.

We had a tough decision before us. There are currently only two adults in our house (myself and my husband). We don’t really entertain, so why did we have 25 wine glasses? Welp, now we only have 4. Yep, 4 wine glasses and I recently broke one, so now we’re down to 3! But it works! We wash dishes every other day, so a wine glass is usually clean. Amazingly, we are surviving with 3 wine glasses!

You can see the wine rack in the top image below.kitchen cabinets remodel

4. Clear the Clutter Before You Buy Anything New

Whenever I start an organization project I want to immediately go to Target or Kohls (yep, beer taste and beer pocketbook) to shop for pretty organizers! However, as a new minimalist, I took a moment of pause. I wrote down each item I wanted to impulse buy.

I came back after a few days and realized I didn’t need to buy anything at that point. I continued to journal about every impulse buy. If I continued to journal about that item over the next two weeks, I would give myself permission to purchase it. Most of the time I did NOT need the item that popped into my head. I also found items I forgot I had during the decluttering process.

The moral of the story is – finish the decluttering process before making any new purchases.

5. Downsize Your Cleaning Supplies

Commercially available cleaning products in disposable plastic packaging overwhelmed the cabinets under my sink, which is why there’s an entire organizational industry dedicated to organizing cleaning supplies. But did I really need all those different cleaning supplies?

RELATED CONTENT: Best Zero Waste Cleaning Supplies.

The cleaning products themselves can be hazardous. According to the American Lung Association, many cleaning supplies or household products can contribute to serious health problems, such as headaches, eye and throat irritations, and even cancer. Some of these products release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The ALA suggests that we avoid using air fresheners altogether.

In a dual effort to minimize my disposable plastic waste and improve indoor air quality, I stopped purchasing most commercial cleaning products. I now purchase natural cleaning products in sustainable or bulk packaging. My go-to cleaning products are vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils.

zero waste cleaning supplies

6. Use Multipurpose Small Appliances

To increase kitchen counter storage I got rid of most of my single purpose small appliances, such as a waffle iron, a toaster oven, a pastry press, a kitchen scale, a rice cooker, an older blender, an old crockpot (I had two for some reason?), and an old food processor with a cracked handle. It was liberating because some of these appliances were underutilized. Every time I saw the waffle iron I got a little sad (because I wasn’t making waffles!).

In lieu of a rice cooker and the crockpot, I got an Instant Pot, I replaced the blender and old food processor with a new more powerful food processor that could do the job of both appliances, and instead of a toaster oven I got an air fryer, which I use more than my regular oven. I did not replace the kitchen scale or waffle iron, but I did get a standup kitchen mixer for Christmas (and I love it). It was an investment, but it well used!

I did not purchase these small appliances overnight. It took some time to save up for these appliances. You can occasionally find used small kitchen appliances, like blenders and food processors at thrift stores too!

small kitchen appliances

7. Get Control of Your Mail

Not only does mail take up precious kitchen space, but it’s also bad for the environment. According to EcoCycle, we spend at least 8 months of our lives sorting and tossing junk mail. On average Americans receive 41 pounds of junk mail per year. There are two types of junk mail: solicited and unsolicited.

The first step I took was eliminating solicited junk mail, like bank statements, credit card statements, and utility bills. Most bills can be sent electronically. I also put a stop to credit card offers, phone books, grocery store flyers, coupon mailers. Most couponing can be done with an app. Check out Ibotta and Checkout51 if you want to start electronically couponing.

RELATED CONTENT: How To Stop Junk Mail For Good.

8. Tidy the Junk Drawer

Marie Kondo doesn’t believe in junk drawers. Everything has a place. I’m not there yet! I need a junk drawer for nails, pins, glue, tape, pencils, scissors, screwdrivers, batteries, and all of the little doodads I forget about, but don’t want to throw away. I keep my extra kitchen towels in the drawer as well. A junk drawer organizer seems counterintuitive, but the organizer keeps the junk drawer easily accessible. My favorite junk drawer organizer is by KeFanta 22.

organize your junk drawer

9. Keep The Dishes Contained

The bamboo dish drying rack is the kitchen accessory I didn’t know I needed. It basically lives on my counter. Thankfully it’s pretty. There always seems to be a dish, a sippy cup, or a pan that’s in the middle of drying so it’s nice to have a place for a stray dish.

organize your kitchen cabinets

10. Invest in a (few) Kitchen Organization Pieces

I don’t shop much anymore, but every now and then I do buy something new. When I remodeled my kitchen I lost a ton of storage, so I got creative. The following items helped me store the few remaining kitchen accessories I had left.

  • Nesting bowls work great if you’re short on drawer space. These space-saving nesting bowls fit neatly into each other so you can use that space for something else.
  • I store all of my spices in a double-decker Lazy Susan. It makes it so much easier to find things!
  • Wire shelf additions hold extra plates.
  • Pot lid holders keep the lids organized and easily accessible.
  • I store my cutting boards vertically against the nearest wall.
  • A bamboo bread box serves the dual purpose of keeping bread and holding the teapots.
  • A rattan tray holds the sugar, coffee, and tea jars.
  • The air fryer and toaster also live on the counters, because we use them daily.

easy kitchen organization hacks

Here is a sampling of some of the things discarded after the kitchen renovation:

  • Item 1– Glass canisters (as pretty as they were…I wasn’t using them). These particular canisters were not airtight. I used one of them to hold sugar (which was routinely discovered by ants every summer).
  • Item 2 – A kitchen scale was nice in theory, but I never used it. I kinda always eyeballed portions. It sat in my cabinet collecting dust and not much else.
  • Item 3 – Beer steins. Aren’t beer steins wonderful? Who doesn’t love beer steins? We loved looking at them, but we typically drink directly from the glass bottle or the beer can. Who has time to pour it into a beer stein?
  • Item 4 – Kitchen message board. I had this kitchen message board for years. The chalkboard wasn’t very usable and the corkboard was thin, but it looked great. After reading “Tidying Up,” I decided that (most) of the items I owned needed to be functional and attractive (besides sentimental or purely functional items). The message board wasn’t functional and the red color did not compliment the new grey, blue, and white color scheme.
  • Item 5Ceramic kitchen canisters. These canisters were “pretty a picture” on the counter, but the size differences meant I could hold a lot in the large canister, but very little in the others. The spoons on the side of the canisters were not very useful as they didn’t hold much.
  • Item 6 – Random kitchen items such as recipe books and plastic cups.
  • Item 7Commercial grade Waring waffle iron. When I purchased this item I imagined myself making waffles every Sunday morning for my family. Well…that did not happen. I think I made waffles once and they weren’t very good. I don’t know if it was the type of mix I used or the operator (me). Unlike some of the items I discarded, the waffle maker was in very good condition and useful.
  • Item 8 – A Pampered Chef Cookie Press. I have no idea why I purchased this except out of peer pressure. I literally never ever used it.

declutter your kitchen

I hope you’ve enjoyed the 10 Ways to Create a Minimalist Kitchen. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please share with me in the comments or on Instagram

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